Jul 26, 2022

‘Chingaari’: How the Right to Education can empower people

In this poignant scene from the movie Chingaari we see a sex trafficked worker also a mother reprimand her child playing dress up (like her mother). The man in the scene is shown to eye and make a pass at the little girl which enrages her mother. She scolds her daughter for wanting to imitate her. The mother obviously wants a better life for her child and hopes to change her daughter’s life by educating and providing for her through the money she earns as a sex traffick worker. The scene also shows the marginalization of women and the lack of dignity and value for this profession.

Article 21A of the Constitution of India, 1950 states that education is a fundamental right. Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act), the government has to provide free and compulsory education to all children from six to fourteen years of age.  Every child of the age of six to fourteen years has a right to full time elementary education i.e., from First Standard to Eighth Standard. Free education means that there is no need to pay any kind of fees/charges which might prevent the child from seeking and completing elementary education.

Under the Act, children have the right to good quality education, in a formal school which meets certain basic standards. This could be a government school, or a school that receives financial support from the government. Even unaided/private schools have to keep aside at least twenty-five percent of their seats in First Standard for children belonging to poor and other disadvantaged sections of society.

If a child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school or could not complete elementary education, then they will be admitted in a class appropriate to their age. If the child is directly admitted to an age-appropriate class, then they have a right to get special training to be at par with other children. The child also has a right to free education even after the age of fourteen years, till they complete the Eighth Standard.

Have a question you want to ask our legal experts?